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2012 Starters Adjusted

August 26th, 2012 No comments

Schools have a lot of different methods in determining returning starters. I personally look at the individual starters for all 124 FBS teams. I determine only 11 starters from the previous year. Some schools have the criteria of 5 or more starts and therefore list 14 starters returning (as an example: 9 starters returning, 5 starters lost). I look at each position and determine my starters. Sometimes my criteria is not just 6 or more starts. As an example: at Nebraska a couple years ago year RB Marlon Lucky had 11 starts at the I-back position. His “backup” Roy Helu had 2 starts and Quentin Castille had 1. Determining the Nebraska RB position on the start basis would have a starter lost from the RB position. I look at the fact that Helu led the team in ’08 with 803 yds rush while Lucky was a distant second at 517. Castille almost topped Lucky’s numbers with 467. Each of the 3 had almost identical carries. With the top rusher back and 1,373 of the teams 1,910 RB yds (72%) I graded that unit as a starter returning.

In the magazine I list what I feel is the most accurate starters returning chart in the country on each team’s right page. Since the magazine was published in May there have been some teams which have lost some returning starters for different reasons. Here on my Sunday blog I am providing you with a single chart that lists all 124 teams so you can see the starters returning at a glance and in RED I list the teams who have lost starters since May. If you’re wondering who was lost, check out my complete list of injuries on the front page of PhilSteele.com which we update daily.

An * means the QB is returning (note: Akron is the only tm that has lost its returning st’r at QB).

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2011 Starts Lost To Injury!

July 5th, 2012 No comments

Remember when Oklahoma won the National Title in 2000? Not a single OU starter lost a single start due to injury! My research has shown that teams that benefited from very few injuries, in this case 6 or less, usually have a weaker season the next year.

The bottom line is, teams that have suffered a lot of injuries the previous year will generally have a better year the next season. A lot of backups were forced to play during the injury-riddled year, gaining valuable experience and the team figures to not be so injury-prone the next year.

In a study over the last 8 years, my research shows that if a team had 32 or more starts lost to injury the prior season, they improved or had the same record the next year on 62 out of 76 occasions for an 81.6% success rate. How about teams that are really banged up? Well from 2001-2005 12 teams went through seasons of having 40 or more combined starts lost and ALL 12 had the same or better record the next season. It surprises me that 17 teams met that criteria in 2006-’07 but only 7 had a stronger record the next year and 9 had a weaker record.

In 2008, Utah was at the top of the chart with 51 starts lost to injury and they went from 9-4 to 13-0 and #2 in the country! 2010 was another solid year as 9 teams had 35 or more starts lost to injury in ‘09 and 8 of the 9 improved or had the same record (88%!). Here are the teams that suffered 32 or more starts lost to injury last year:

Most Amount of Starts Lost to Injury in 2011

Rk Team Starts Lost
1
Maryland 59
2
Boston College 55
2
Ohio State 55
4
Oregon St 54
5
Toledo 53
6
Colorado St 52
7
Army 51
8
Florida St 46
9
Memphis 44
10
Miami, Fl 42
10
Vanderbilt 42

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# of Sr, Jr, Soph, Frosh on a Roster

July 2nd, 2012 No comments

I have developed several pet peeves after covering college football for nearly three decades. Three of them concern coach speak. The first is when a new HC or a new OC or new DC is hired you always hear them say in the press conference that they are going to have a more attacking style on both sides of the ball. You never hear a HC say that the team is going to be more laid back, play more soft coverage, ease up on offense.

The 2nd coach speak comes on Signing Day. I don’t think I have ever heard a coach say that “this year we really missed the boat on several recruits and we have a disappointing class coming in.” I always hear “I really like my class” and “we addressed a lot of needs.”

My final coach speak is when I hear a coach say that we are young and inexperienced and have more underclassmen than upperclassmen. This bothers me for a couple of reasons. First, when you consider that most freshman end up red-shirting their freshman seasons, it is almost like having another class when you add them to the true incoming freshman class. This means you basically have five classes on a football roster (true frosh, rFr, Soph, Jr, Sr) and that means roughly 60% of your roster should be filled with underclassmen. Second, usually on signing day teams sign anywhere between 20-25 recruits on avg but after three years of injuries, transfers, early entries to the NFL draft, that class is usually down at least 5-10 players which means your senior class is smaller than your freshman class.

Today’s blog I decided to take the official rosters on all 124 teams and add up the total number of Seniors (incl 5th yr), Juniors, Sophomores and Freshman (including true and redshirts) to see if indeed there are far more underclassmen on a roster than upperclassmen.

Below is a chart of every team and naturally those numbers could be in flux due to transfers, suspensions, etc but I do think you get a reasonably accurate look at the number for each class and each team.

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Conference Polls Are Open!

July 2nd, 2012 No comments

The Conference Polls Are Open!!!

The last couple of years I have I put up a poll for everyone to pick who would win each conference game during the year. I found these results fascinating prior to the year. When you vote in the poll, it tabulates the current % of votes for each team in each individual game. Here are the results of the fan poll from 2011.

Three years ago you guys scored a low of 121 points, which was 11 points lower than GamePlan. Some of the conferences and divisions you did the best in were the SEC East (0 pts!) SEC West (4 pts) and the Mountain West 8 points.  Two years ago you guys finished right behind Lindy’s and ATS Consultants for 4th place with 116 points.

The scores are figured by taking each publication’s forecasting accuracy by comparing the predicted finish with the actual finish of each team in the conference. Keep in mind the chart is similar to Golf scores in that the lower the score the more accurate.

If you have any questions on the scoring or need further explanation please refer to pages 306-307 of this year’s magazine or visit stassen.com or check out the May 16 Blog.

We put the polls up today for this year’s games on the homepage for four conferences and this is a great way for me to gauge how the public views each game. When you vote you have the entire conference schedule in front of you and the home team is capitalized. Get your votes in today and see how the fans think the big games like Oklahoma-Texas, Oregon at USC, LSU at Alabama and Michigan at Ohio St are going to shake out! To vote you do have register your e-mail address but this is just to make sure there is no stuffing of the ballot box. I will do a complete break down of the fan vote in a couple of weeks!

Who Will Be This Year’s Most Improved Team?

July 2nd, 2012 No comments

Making my Most Improved List has generally been a blessing for teams, as they usually make big turnarounds. In 1999, the #1 most improved team in my Preseason Rankings was Hawaii and they had the NCAA’s largest turnaround on record, going from a winless season in 1998 (0-12) to 9-4 and a bowl victory one year later!!!

The year 2000 was a VERY successful season as well for my Most Improved Teams. Of the top 14 Most Improved Teams that year, TEN went from a losing season to being bowl eligible!!!! South Carolina was my #6 Most Improved Team (MIT) and they went from 0-11 in 1999 to beating Ohio St in a Jan 1 bowl to finish 8-4.

In 2001 and 2002, nine of the 20 teams on my Most Improved List list each year went from having a non-winning season to making a bowl. Colorado went from 3-8 to just missing out on the National Title game in ’01. In 2003, 8 of the top 20 teams went from a .500 or losing seasons to being bowl eligible. Memphis, my #8 Most Improved Team. The Tigers went from 3-9 to a super 9-4!!!!!

There was a total of TEN teams that did not have winning records in ’03 who improved to a winning record in ’04. NINE (90%) of them were on my list! My #1 Most Improved Team, Texas A&M, went from 4-8 to the Cotton Bowl.

In 2005, the top 16 MIT’s on my list in ’05 had a comb record of 66-111 (37%) in ’04 and improved to 102-84 (55%) in ’05. Penn State went from 4-7 to #3 AP and nearly played in the National Title game. Oregon went from 5-6 to #6 after the regular season, finishing at 10-2!!

2006 was another great year for this list. My #1 Most Improved Team was Arkansas which went from 4-7 to SEC West Champs and rose as high as #5 AP!!

2007 was another terrific year! The 22 teams on my list had a comb record of 92-177 (34.2%) in ’06 but were 145-134 (52%) in ’07.

In 2008 twelve of my top 13 Most Improved Teams went from non-winning seasons to bowl eligibility or 92%!!! Those 13 went from a combined 50-95 (34.5%) in ’07 to a 94-62 (60.3%) record in ’08!!!

2009 was another successful season with 22 teams making my list and of the 22, 12 went from a losing record to bowl eligibility. Ohio won the MAC East after going 4-8 in ’08 and SMU went from 1-11 to 8-5!!!

In 2010 my #1 Most improved team Tulsa went from 5-7 to 10-3 and #24 AP! The 19 teams that made the list had a combined record of 82-149 35.5% in ’09 and improved to a combined 132-109 54.8%!!

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Which Teams Will Go 11-1/12-0?

July 2nd, 2012 No comments

If you are a follower of my magazine, I am sure you are familiar with the fact that I have NINE different sets of power ratings that I create each preseason to give me 9 different ways of analyzing a team. One is based on the individual talent level and performance of each position on each team and those are added up for the rating. Another is based on my Power Plays numbers, which include rushing and passing offenses, defenses and special teams. Another is a continually updated power rating based on the score of the games and the strength of opponent. Finally a few years back, before computers became part of the BCS rankings system, there was without a doubt some flaws in the polls. Teams rated #2 or #3 in the country really were not that talented and were maybe the 5th or 6th best. One internet site decided to produce a poll of some of the top analysts and experts each week and invited me to join. I myself work 365 days a year. During magazine time (March, April, May) and throughout the football season (August through January) there are many 15-18 hour days put in and all of them are spent solely working on FOOTBALL. When they invited me to join the poll, I wanted to give them the best set of power ratings in the country to help make the poll as accurate as possible. The dilemma I had was which set?

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Who Will Be This Year’s Surprise Team?

June 21st, 2012 No comments

Do you think it is easy picking a National Champ prior to the year?

Since 1994, only 3 times has the preseason #1 team gone on to win the National Title. However, I am happy that I have correctly pegged the national champ in two of the last four years!

Last year Oklahoma was the preseason #1 team but I had Alabama #1 and the Crimson Tide came thru for me by easily winning the rematch vs LSU in the national title game!  In 2008, Georgia was the preseason #1 team but I had FLORIDA to win the title and the Gators delivered for me!! Athlon was the only other source to have Florida #1.
Only in 1999 (everyone with Florida St), 2001 (two magazines with Miami, Fl) and 2004 (everyone with USC) did any of the Big 9 preseason magazines correctly pick the National Champ.

Past Surprise Teams

In 2002, it was yet another Surprise Team taking home the National Title. Ohio St was not even ranked in the preseason Top 10. In fact, only three magazines even picked them to win the Big Ten, let alone contend for a National Title. I am pleased to report I had OSU at #7, which was higher than any other publication and when the smoke cleared, they had beaten Miami, FL in the Fiesta Bowl and took home the National Title.

In 2003, there was another surprise champ and that was LSU. If you read my 2003 College Football Preview, you know I had LSU pegged as my #2 Surprise Team in the country saying they had a great shot at going undefeated and attaining the National Title. At the start of the year, not only did 8 of the Big 9 magazines NOT have LSU as a National Title contender, but NONE had LSU even winning the SEC WEST DIVISION. That year LSU simply won the SEC outright and shared the National Title!! The other half of the National Title went to USC who I had listed as my #5 Surprise Team despite the fact they had to replace their Heisman Trophy winning QB Carson Palmer.

In ’04 almost everyone including myself pegged USC and Oklahoma to play in the Orange Bowl game so there was no Surprise Team in the title game BUT Auburn made no major publication’s Top 10 and almost got to the big game with its unbeaten season. I had Auburn listed as my #7 Surprise Team in ’04.

In ’05 the #1 and #2 preseason teams met in the title game so there was no Surprise Team. Penn St was not ranked in the preseason and finished #3 in the final polls after having a losing season in ’04. While they did not make my Surprise List, they were my #3 Most Improved Team.

The 2006 season was a VERY GOOD year for my Surprise Teams and almost a GREAT YEAR! I say almost a GREAT year because my #1 Surprise Team was Louisville and they came within inches of playing for the National Title. When I wrote the magazine I had expected the “Derby City Duo” of RB Michael Bush and QB Brian Brohm to be one of the top QB/RB combos in the country. Bush was lost in the 3Q of the opening game and Brohm was injured a few games later. Brohm was only a few games back from injury when the #3 Cards blew a 25-7 3Q lead and lost to Rutgers on a FG on the last play (which was a 2nd chance FG after the first one was missed but the Cardinals were penalized for being offsides). Had they held on and won they would have been #2 in the BCS poll and we would have had a pair of unbeatens meet for the title. As we saw, the Buckeyes were greatly affected by their 51 day layoff and were a vulnerable team. Louisville could have been the fourth team in FIVE YEARS to merit National Championship consideration that was one of my Top 10 Surprise Teams. That is a pretty good record considering I do not pick any of the projected preseason Top 10 teams.

In 2007, I had Ohio St listed as my #4 Surprise Team and they entered the season #11 but played in the National Title game. I had USF (unranked preseason) as my #5 Surprise Team and they climbed as high as #2 in the polls. I had Georgia (#13 AP) as my #6 Surprise Team and they finished #2 and almost played in the title game. I had Oregon my #10 Surprise Team and they were #2 when QB Dennis Dixon was injured. Had Dixon not been injured, they likely would have been in the title game. I had Missouri my #9 Surprise Team and despite being UNRANKED in the AP preseason poll, they were #1 when they faced Oklahoma in the Big 12 Title game and finished #4! I also had Hawaii going unbeaten in the regular season and playing in the Sugar Bowl which is exactly what happened!

In 2008, I had Texas Tech my #3 Surprise Team and they got to 10-0 (#2) and came very close (3-way B12 South Division tie) to playing for the Big 12 Championship and possibly the National Title game. Penn St opened the year #22 in the AP poll but was my #5 Surprise team and had they not given away a 9 point 4Q lead vs Iowa they would have been in the title game.

In 2009, the title game was Texas vs Alabama (both top 5 prior to year) so there were no surprise teams.

In 2010, I had AUBURN my #5 surprise team and despite entering the year #22 in the AP poll they ran thetable and won the national title!

So, what have we learned from all this information? Clearly, every year there has been an unexpected Top 10 team and some years there are big surprises like Oklahoma, Ohio St, LSU and Auburn who all took home the title after a 5-loss season (Auburn also had 5 losses in 2003 before going unbeaten in 2004). Now comes the question, “Who will be this year’s Surprise Team?”

The last couple of February’s on PhilSteele.com, I have posted my projected AP Top 10 for the upcoming year. I have hit 9 of 10 the last three years. The last 3 years ESPN has produced its preseason Top 25 and it comes out in April. Here is my expected list of the teams that will likely be ranked in this year’s preseason AP Top 10 and I put them in order of how they will likely be ranked: USC, LSU, Alabama, Oregon, Oklahoma, Georgia, Arkansas, Florida St, South Carolina, Michigan and West Virginia. It’s likely these 11 teams will make up the Top 11 this year, so I will NOT use any of them. Now let’s take a look at this year’s potential surprise teams.

I do want to reiterate that Ohio St and North Carolina both have the talent and schedules to run the table but I could not pick either because they are not eligible for the BCS Title.

This year my #1 Surprise Team is the Texas Longhorns! The ESPN April ranking had them at #22 and they are 13-12 the last two years finishing unranked each year. Last year Texas did not have a Top 10 D (#11) by NCAA standards but had my #2 rated D as they held 5 opponent’s to season lows and took on 6 of the top 13 offenses in the country. The 2nd best defense in the Big 12 confernce taking on these type of powerhouse offenses was Oklahoma and they finished #55 in the NCAA rankings! Texas has a top ten D again with 6 st’rs back but get a big upgrade on offense with my #4 set of RB’s, #11 Rec’s and #8 O-line and they will get the best QB play since Colt McCoy left after ’09. Keep in mind Texas finished in the Top 10 seven of nine yrs (#12 in ’03, #13 in ’06) from 2001-’09 and that included five Top 5 finishes. Their toughest two gms are at Okla St and their Red River Rivalry vs Oklahoma. This is the 2nd year for their new coor’s systems and remember four Nat’l Champs the last 12 years have been off 5 loss seasons.

70 points. Ask anyone about My #2 Surprise Team the Clemson Tigers and the first thing they will say is 70 pts or “West Virginia just scored again.” Clemson had a great season getting to 8-0 and #6 but went 2-4 down the stretch still managing to win the ACC Title. This year they have one of the top QB, RB and WR combos in the country with QB Boyd, RB Ellington, WR’s Watkins and Hopkins. They played a lot of VHT true frosh LY and they are all now exp’d sophs. Most of their toughest ACC foes are in Death Valley and they should be favored in as many as 10 gms this year with 1 tossup (Auburn) and one clear cut underdog (at Florida St). Naturally I think Fla St will win that game but I expected VT to beat them in Blacksburg last year and Clemson prevailed even in a letdown situation off two big wins at home. How quickly the OL comes around (just 2 ret sts) will determine if this is a surprise National Title contender.

In 2010 everyone in the country made the mistake of assuming a large drop off by My #3 Surprise team the Oklahoma State Cowboys as they had to replace QB Zac Robinson (career passing leader), a thousand yd RB and WR Dez Bryant (1st Tm AA). There were 47 different tms that were picked among the various publications Top 25 and the Cowboys were not ranked by a single source! Brand new QB Weeden had a fine year. After spring the coaches wondered if a feature WR would emerge and it took until the end of August but Justin Blackmon did and had a huge year. OSU went 23-3 the last 2 yrs with those two. This year they depart and my biggest apprehension is that they go from a 28 year old QB to a true frosh, perhaps the largest dropoff EVER for a college QB position (10 years age diff!). OSU does have a solid O-line and my #8 set of RB’s but their biggest difference is that the defense which was #107 LY could have a Michigan ’11 type of improvement, as they have Top 25 defensive talent. They do draw Oklahoma on the road but could be favored in all their other road games meaning if they take care of business at home they could be a surprise team despite not being in the Top 15.

My #4 Surprise Team is the Wisconsin Badgers. LY AFTER my magazine was on the newsstands, Wisconsin signed Russell Wilson who had led the ACC in td passes each of the previous 3 years! Wilson is a tireless worker that came in and gave 100% effort every snap including in practice and elevated the team to the Rose Bowl (2 Hail Mary’s away from a poss Nat’l Title appearance). Had I known that he was coming in and that Jim Tressel and Joe Paterno would not be coaching their respective teams when Wisconsin faced them, I would have had the Badgers #1 by themselves as opposed to tied for #1 in the Big Ten Leaders. Danny O’Brien is NOT Russell Wilson but the Maryland transfer is a good fit for the offense and they caught a huge break when Heisman finalist Montee Ball opted to return for his Sr season. UW avoids Michigan out of the Legends and their road games all fall into the winnable category with the toughest at Nebraska and Oregon St. They face my #56 schedule with only 3 ranked teams (no Top 10) and with two of those 3 in the friendly confines of Camp Randall.

In 2010 in this spot I had a 2nd year coach in Gene Chizik who was not a popular hire (showing fans can actually be wrong) and was coming off an 8-5 season and My #5 Surprise Team, the Florida Gators, also have a 2nd year HC that is off a disappointing season at 7-6. A first year HC has to learn the players strengths and weaknesses and the team must learn his new systems. Year two everyone is up to speed. In 2000 Bob Stoops in his 2nd year shockingly won the Title. 2002 was Jim Tressel’s 2nd year at Ohio St and he was the surprise National Title winner! Urban Meyer in his 2nd year at Florida took home a National Title in 2006. In 2010 Gene Chizik (2nd year) took home the title after going 8-5 his first year at Auburn. Third yr HC’s have also won 4 in that span in ’09-Saban Alabama, ’07-Miles LSU, ’03-Carroll USC and ’97-Carr Michigan. LY Florida used 3 different QB’s due to injury, they were -12 in turnovers, go from just 9 ret sts to 17 and go from only 3 SEC home gms to just 3 SEC true road gms (Texas A&M, Tennessee, Vanderbilt). They do have to face four Top 10 teams but only one of them on the road (Florida State). No one is talking about Florida to even win the SEC East but they will be at the end of the year.

If you want my complete list of 2012 Surprise Teams (12) make sure you check out pages 20-22 of this year’s magazine!

Players to Circle in Your Magazine!

June 21st, 2012 No comments

2012 FBS Injuries – Prior To Season!

These are some noteworthy changes to the Projected Starting Lineups that took place AFTER the magazine went to press in May which was AFTER all spring practices were complete. Here is an example of one team that had a lot of deletions off the roster last year. This is how I update my magazine and it allows you to see all the players that are out for the year and note teams with a lot of injuries. You can also tell if teams are fairly healthy when you have a team with little to no circles.

Here is an example of what my Washington St magazine page looked like at the end of 2009. I chose the Cougars because they suffered 67 starts lost to injury in 2009, the most in the NCAA. Remember when Oklahoma won the National Title in 2000? Not a single OU starter lost a single start due to injury!

In 2010 with the heavy sanctions the NCAA had put on USC, naturally the Trojans suffered some attrition. Here is what my magazine page looked like for USC prior to the season.

Here is the current list for players that have been lost for the year since the middle of May. This includes injuries, transfers, suspensions and dismissals. This list will be updated DAILY so check it often. Any player that will not suit up for 2012 when they were expected to in May needs to be on this list.  If you see any players missing in this list please email brandon@philsteele.com and we will get those players on there ASAP.  Also during the season we will provide an updated starts lost list for each school so you can see which schools are banged up and which fall into the zero starts lost category. This section will also update late additions. Here is the current list.

Check back DAILY to make adjustments to your 2012 College Preview Magazine!!
Players in BLUE are new this week.

Air Force

Akron

Alabama

Arizona
5/16 CB Cortez Johnson is transferring to Oklahoma
6/13 DL Dylan Cozens Drafted by Phillies will play baseball
6/15 LB Brian Wagner has decided to quit football
Arizona St

Arkansas
6/12 WR Kane Whitehurst was given release of scholarship
6/12 WR Quinta Funderburk released from team and will sign with Syracuse
6/12 LB Brock Haman Transferred to Arizona St
Arkansas St

Army

Auburn

Ball St

Baylor
5/16 LB Robert Singletary transferred to UTSA
Boise St
6/13 DL Justin Jungblut transferred to N Arizona
6/13 DL Nick Alexander transferred to Portland St
Boston College

Bowling Green

Buffalo

BYU

California
5/24 LB Cecil Whiteside dismissed from team
6/13 RB Trajuan Briggs transferred to New Mexico
Central Michigan

Cincinnati

Clemson
5/16 RB Mike Bellamy Academically Ineligible. Going to JC for ’12.
Colorado
6/9 DL Cordary Allen left team
6/13 WR Peyton williams will grayshirt
6/13 DL Derek McCartney will grayshirt
6/13 OL Gerrad Kough will grayshirt
Colorado St
6/14 DL CJ James granted release
Connecticut
6/13 TE Mark Hansson academically ineligle
Duke
5/16 P Alex King Graduated and transferred to Texas
East Carolina

Eastern Michigan

FIU

Florida

Florida Atlantic

Florida St

Fresno St
5/16 WR Jalen Saunders will transfer to Oklahoma
Georgia

Georgia Tech

Hawaii
6/14 CB Justi Turner transferred from Michigan
6/14 CB Demar Dorsey transferred from Grand Rapids/UM
Houston

Idaho
5/16 WR Ken McRoyal died from gun shot wound
Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Iowa St
5/16 DL Ben Durbin grad transfer from Wyoming
Kansas
5/16 LB Jake Farley transferring to Northern Iowa
5/16 OL Chad Kolumber transferring to Richmond
6/13 K Alex Mueller will transfer
Kansas St

Kent St

Kentucky
6/12 WR Brian Adams gave up football to concentrate on baseball
Louisiana

Louisiana Tech

Louisville

LSU
6/11 DB Ronnie Vinson transferred to Tennessee St
Marshall
6/14 CB Dominick LeGrande transferred from Boston College
6/14 CB Okechukwu Okoroha transferred from Boston College
Maryland

Massachusetts

Memphis
6/14 CB Taurean Nixon transferred
Miami, Fl

Miami, Oh

Michigan
5/16 DL Chris Rock left the program
Michigan St
5/16 DT Matt Ramondo released to transfer
Middle Tenn

Minnesota
5/16 LB Dwayne Mitchell transferred to Nicholls St
Mississippi
6/12 QB Zack Stoudt ended career for health reasons
Mississippi St

Missouri
5/15 DB Tavon Bolden dismissed from team
Navy
6/14 CB David Sperry left school violation of rules
Nebraska
5/16 TE JT Kerr transferring to USC
5/16 S Dijon Washington transferred to Sacramento St
6/12 RB Aaron Green transferred to TCU

Golden Nugget Early Lines For 2012′s Marquee College Football Games

June 21st, 2012 No comments

PhilSteele.com is a pure college and pro information site. There is no gambling information on this site. Any mention of the point spread of a game is to let you know who was favored and expected to win when the games were played.

Every year I do about 300 radio shows and a popular question this time of year is “Who do you think will be favored when XXX and XXX meet?” This is asked by callers and the hosts of the radio stations. I can always speculate during June but there is a casino in Las Vegas that is the first to put out some lines on the upcoming games for the 2012 season.

As you know gambling in Las Vegas is legal and the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas has released their numbers earlier this week. Below is a list of all the marquee games that the Golden Nugget has posted for the upcoming year. This information is posted for news matter only.

Date Away Home
Friday, Aug. 31 Boise St Michigan St (-6 ½)
Saturday, Sept. 1 Marshall West Virginia (-20)
Michigan (Arlington, TX) Alabama (-12)
Auburn (Atlanta, GA) Clemson (-2 ½)
Navy (Dublin, Ireland) Notre Dame (-13 ½)
Sunday, Sept. 2 Kentucky Louisville (-11 ½)
Colorado (-6) (Denver, CO) Colorado St
Thursday, Sept. 6 Pittsburgh Cincinnati (-5)
Saturday, Sept. 8 Oklahoma St (-9 ½) Arizona
Miami Kansas St (-7)
Iowa St Iowa (-5)
Washington LSU (-21)
Georgia (-3) Missouri
Florida Texas A&M (-1)
Nebraska (-6 ½) UCLA
USC (-21) (East Rutherford, NJ) Syracuse
Friday, Sept. 14 Washington St (-17 ½) UNLV
Saturday, Sept. 15 Alabama (-6 ½) Arkansas
Notre Dame Michigan St (-3)
USC (-10) Stanford
Florida -5 Tennessee
Saturday, Sept. 22 LSU (-10 ½) Auburn
Clemson Florida St (-8)
Michigan Notre Dame (-1)
Kansas St Oklahoma (-16)
Missouri South Carolina (-5)
California USC (-24)
Saturday, Sept. 29 Mississippi Alabama (-31)
Tennessee Georgia (-13 ½)
Ohio St Michigan St (-4 ½)
Wisconsin Nebraska (-3)
Texas Oklahoma St (-3 ½)
Arkansas (-2 ½) Texas A&M
Baylor West Virginia (-11)
Thursday, Oct. 4 USC (-16) Utah
Saturday, Oct. 6 Arkansas (-4 ½) Auburn
LSU (-7 ½) Florida
Kansas Kansas St (-20)
Nebraska Ohio St (-2)
Washington Oregon (-20)
Georgia (-2 ½) South Carolina
West Virginia Texas (-4 ½)
Miami, FL (Chicago, IL) Notre Dame (-9 ½)
Saturday, Oct. 13 Stanford Notre Dame (-5)
Nevada (-17) UNLV
Alabama (-14 ½) Missouri
USC (-17) Washington
Texas (Dallas, TX) Oklahoma (-6)
Saturday, Oct. 20 UNLV Boise St (-35 ½)
Stanford (-4) California
South Carolina Florida (-4)
Florida St (-10) Miami, Fl.
Michigan St Michigan (-6)
BYU Notre Dame (-10)
Alabama (-17) Tennessee
Baylor Texas (-11)
LSU (-8) Texas A&M
Colorado USC (-36)
Kansas St West Virginia (-7 ½)
Friday, Oct. 26 Cincinnati Louisville (-3 ½)
Saturday, Oct. 27 Mississippi St Alabama (-24)
USC (-14) Arizona
Texas A&M Auburn (-3)
Michigan (-2) Nebraska
Notre Dame Oklahoma (-12)
TCU Oklahoma St (-9)
Ohio St (-3) Penn St
Tennessee South Carolina (-7 ½)
Michigan St Wisconsin (-5)
Florida (Jacksonville, FL) Georgia (-4 ½)
Thursday, Nov. 1 Virginia Tech (-6 ½) Miami, Fl.
Saturday, Nov. 3 Missouri Florida (-5 ½)
Oklahoma St Kansas St (-1)
Alabama LSU (-2)
Nebraska Michigan St (-5)
Pittsburgh Notre Dame (-13)
Oregon USC (-6)
TCU West Virginia (-7)
Thursday, Nov. 8 Florida St Virginia Tech (-1)
Friday, Nov. 9 Pittsburgh (-2 ½) Connecticut
Saturday, Nov. 10 Texas A&M Alabama (-20)
Georgia (-6) Auburn
Notre Dame (-12) Boston College
Mississippi St LSU (-17)
Baylor Oklahoma (-17)
West Virginia Oklahoma St (-6 ½)
Arkansas (-3) South Carolina
Kansas St TCU (-3 ½)
Missouri Tennessee (-1)
Arizona St USC (-27)
Saturday, Nov. 17 Mississippi LSU (-26)
Stanford Oregon (-13 ½)
USC (-16) UCLA
Ohio St Wisconsin (-7)
Oklahoma (-4) West Virginia
Friday, Nov. 23 Arizona St Arizona (-5 ½)
Washington Washington St (-3)
Saturday, Nov. 24 Auburn Alabama (-18)
LSU (-3) Arkansas
South Carolina Clemson (-4)
Florida Florida St (-7 ½)
Mississippi St (-10) Mississippi
Michigan (-3) Ohio St
Oklahoma St Oklahoma (-8)
Oregon (-16) Oregon St
TCU Texas (-7 ½)
Missouri Texas A&M (-3)
Notre Dame USC (-14)
Saturday, Dec. 1 Texas (-3) Kansas St
Oklahoma (-10) TCU
Saturday, Dec. 8 Army (Philadelphia, PA) Navy (-4 ½)

One thing that jumped out to me right away was that my pick to win the National Championship this year Florida St is currently an underdog at Virginia Tech this November!

Thanks for Golden Nugget Director Tony Miller for stepping out on a limb to release the first college football lines in Las Vegas, and also kudos to one of his assistants, Aaron Kessler, for putting in the long hours prepping the formula that the GN used to come up with the numbers. Finally, thanks to Keith Fridrich for letting me know that the Nugget had these lines up and sending me a copy. Next time you are in Vegas, give the Nugget a look.

How can you pick XXX on your All-Conference Team…He never played a down of College Football?

June 21st, 2012 No comments

For years now I have wanted to put different articles in my magazine but many of you know there is not much available room remaining to squeeze in more information. However through the internet and on my website I can produce 2 or 3 pages of information and not have to worry about space limitations. I have been asked the question of the article above so many times during my radio show circuit that I keep giving the same type of answers over and over.

Similar to my Top 40 and conference order projections, everything that you see in my magazine is a projection of where and what the season will look like at the end of the season. The same goes for my All-Conference teams. Several times I project upperclassmen who have had rather disappointing careers to have breakout seasons and place them on my All-Conference team. Also on occasion I even place true freshmen on my All-Conference teams meaning that I project them to have really big first years. While a true freshman starting an entire year is uncommon, keep in mind on average at least 1 or 2 true freshman make their way into the starting lineup at some point in the year on nearly every team. While freshman standouts who end up being All-Conference or All-American caliber are rare there usually is 1 or 2 breakout freshman each year in college football (see Clemson’s Sammy Watkins LY).

Here is brief history of all the very successful FIRST year players in college football through the years (in date order).

1. Tony Dorsett rushed for 1,586 yds as a freshman at Pitt in 1973 and was the first freshman All-American since Army’s Doc Blanchard did it in1944.

2. Herschel Walker ran for 1,616 yds in 1980 and finished in the Top 3 of the Heisman Trophy Voting while leading the Bulldogs to the National Title.

3. NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith gained 1,341 yds and 13 TD’s and finished No. 9 in the 1987 Heisman Trophy Voting as a freshman RB at Florida.

4. Marshall Faulk broke 10 individual NCAA records as a freshman when he rushed for 1,429 yds and 21 TD’s in 1991.

5. In 1996 Ron Dayne ran for 1,863 yds and 18 TD’s as a frosh. Ironically, Dayne’s freshman season provided the most yds of any of his four seasons and he finished his career as the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher.

6. Virginia Tech’s Michael Vick holds the NCAA FBS mark for the highest passing efficiency rating by a freshman, with 180.4 while totaling 2,425 rush/pass yds and 20 TD’s in 1999. Most impressively he led VT to the national title game vs Florida St that same year!

7. Jared Lorenzen had 3,827 pass yds as a freshman at Kentucky in 2000 and holds the NCAA record for most pass yds gained by a freshman in a season.

8. Brad Smith is the only freshman QB in college football history to have gained both 2,000 yds pass and 1,000 yds rush when he accomplished this in 2002.

9. In 2004, Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson had the most rushing yds by any NCAA freshman in history with 1,925 and was a Heisman finalist.

10. In 2007, Texas Tech WR Michael Crabtree broke several NCAA freshman records with 134 rec for 1,962 yds and 22 TD’s.

11. Jeremy Maclin in 2007 broke the FBS record for all-purpose yards by a freshman when he racked up 2,776 total yds. It included 375 rush yds, 1,055rec yds and 1,346 yds on returns.

12. Sam Bradford threw for 3,121 yds and 36 TD’s (an NCAA record by a freshman) and only eight picks during his freshman campaign at Oklahoma in 2007. He also completed 69.5 % of his passes, which is the FBS record for highest completion % by a freshman in a season with at least 200 attempts.

13. In 2009, Pittsburgh RB Dion Lewis had 1,799 rush yds, the best rookie performance by a back since North Texas’ Jamario Thomas had 1,801 yds in 2004.

14. This year’s #2 Pick in the NFL Draft, Robert Griffin III threw for 2,091 yds and 15 TD’s and then rushed for 843 additional yds and 13 TD’s as a rookie in 2009.

15. Last year Sammy Watkins did it all as a freshman at Clemson and racked up 2,297 yds in total offense and was a 1st Tm AA as a true frosh. Watkins gained 1,219 yds as a receiver, 231 yards on the ground, 826 yards as a kick returner.

Two years ago I took a lot of flack for putting freshman South Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore on my preseason All-SEC team before he even played a down. In the end, he did not disappoint me when he ran for 1,197 yds (4.8) and was the National Frosh of the Year in 2010! Again last year I put South Carolina freshman phenom DE Jadeveon Clowney on my preseason list and despite not being a regular starter, he had 12 tfl’s and was 2nd Team SEC at the end of the year! I also had Texas RB Malcolm Brown and Georgia RB Isaiah Crowell on my preseason All-Conference teams and the two of them combined for 1,592 rush yds!

As you can see from all the above examples it is not very uncommon for a freshman to step in and make an immediate impact in their inaugural season and this is why each year you will find at least 1 or 2 true freshman who have never played a down of college football make my All-Conference team.